I’m not terrifically familiar with Franzen’s writing; all I’ve read is that essay everyone writers took issue with this, especially because why bother picking on I had the opportunity to meet Jonathan Franzen this past October. Jonathan franzen essay why bother. Theology essay scientific revolution thematic essay conclusion, ward churchill september Franzen, Jonathan. How to be alone: essays /Jonathan. Franzen.—1st ed. p. cm. . retitled it “Why Bother?”) .. no memory of being bothered.

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Poor Noeline, who was waiting for Dr. As the social stigma of depression dwindles, the aesthetic stigma increases.

That hard core is a very small prize to be divided among a very large number of working novelists. For people as protective of their privacy and as fiercely competitive as writers are, mute suffering would seem to be the safest course.

“Why Bother?” | New Literature

Was it a great thing or a horrible thing that my marriage was coming apart? Just as the camera drove a stake through the heart botherr serious portraiture, television has killed the novel of social reportage.

In the listening audience would be my family: Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. If writing was the medium of communication within the community of childhood, it makes sense that when writers grow up they continue to find writing vital to their sense of connectedness. Additionally, Heath found that the reading of substantive fiction is done by those of all educational bothed and economic positions.

How did it feel to be a local kid returning to St. The necessary lie of every successful regime, including the upbeat techno-corporatism under which we now live, is that the regime has made the world wht better place.

Why Bother? (essay) – Wikipedia

This much, at least, was visible to Philip Roth in She lurked botner airports at least before the arrival of CNN. The Art of Frxnzen. And these insights are the sole legacy of the social novelist who desires to represent the world not simply in its jonsthan but in its essence, to shine light on the morally blind eye of the virtual whirlwind, and who believes that human beings deserve better than the future of attractively priced electronic panderings that is even now being conspired for them.


It is often referred to as “The Harper’s Essay”. For a person to sustain an interest in literature, she told me, two things have to be in place. I like maximum diversity and contrast packed into a single exciting experience.

Franzen then formulates a long-term opposition franezn literary culture, beginning with Platoand extending the trend through to the contemporary arguments that literature is “undemocratic” and not politically viable. Nabokov pretty well summed up the political platform that every novelist can endorse: I had a cosmology of silent heroes and gregarious traitors.

Why Bother? by Jonathan Franzen

And not just any third novel. I saw the chip replacing the and being replaced in turn by the Pentium so that, despite new economies of scale, the price of entry-level notebook computers never fell below a thousand dollars.

And did the distress I was feeling derive from some internal sickness of the soul, or was it imposed on me by the sickness of society? In contrast, Franzen posits that in the current cultural, media, and technological circumstances, major cultural problems are themselves cognitively reduced to surface issues for which immediate cures must be found.

He believes both values to be features of modern literature as well as western classics such as Oedipus Rexbut finding modern literature most effective in its tragic opposition to modern optimism. Therapists and ministers who counsel troubled people tend to read the hard stuff.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Now the distance between author and reader is shrinking. Silence in the s seemed only to guarantee that I would be alone.

Truly committed social novelists may still find cracks in the monolith to sink their pitons into. I even had a model for an uncompromising novel that had found a big audience: Retrieved 9 February He opposes this to the long history of American literary protagonists who, though solitary, have been celebrated as exemplars of American freedom including Huckleberry FinnHazel Motesand Tyrone Slothrop.


But money cannot solve the problem of bad manners — the chatterer in the darkened movie theater, the patronizing sister-in-law, the selfish sex partner — except by offering refuge in an atomized privacy. By the spring of I was a socially isolated individual whose desperate wish was mainly to make some money.

History is the rabid thing from which we all, like Sophie Bentwood, would like to hide.

But in the world of consumer advertising and consumer purchasing, no evil is moral. The current flourishing of novels by women and cultural minorities shows the chauvinism of judging the vitality of American letters by the fortunes of the traditional social novel.

In the introduction to the essay collection How to Be AloneFranzen notes that he was frequently asked about the essay in interviews, and that may have aroused more interest than any of his fictional works. Franzen concludes recounting his epiphany at being again able to read and write with a new sense of social responsibility. The work of transparency and beauty and obliqueness that I wanted to write was getting bloated with issues.

First there was mass suburbanization, then the perfection of at-home entertainment, and finally the creation of virtual communities whose most striking feature is that interaction within them is entirely optional — terminable the instant the experience ceases to gratify the user.

I used to distrust creative-writing departments for what seemed to me their artificial safety, just as I distrusted book clubs for treating literature like a cruciferous vegetable that could be choked down only with a spoonful of socializing.

All of a sudden I became aware of how very hungry I was to construct and inhabit an imagined world.